Do you have keywords that aren’t ranking on the 1st page on Google or other search engines?
Search Engines use a variety of different factors to determine which websites display first in the results. There are 5 basic steps to help improve your SEO rankings by troubleshooting technical aspects, audience behavior and inbound marketing techniques.
1. Website Technical Issues:
A common problem with a decrease in SEO rankings can often be due to technical web page issues. Using Google Webmaster tools, you can find errors and correct as needed. With this too, you can ensure the analytics are properly set up for tracking and identify crawling errors and check URLs that are pointing to your site.
Confirm Google Analytics Code is Verified:
- Log into Google Webmaster tools
- On your Dashboard identify if your website has been verified
- Click on “Manage Site” dropdown
- Click “Verify this site”
- Select “Add a site”
- Enter the URL you want to verify and click “Continue”
- You can either use the recommended method or alternative method to verify your website.
Check for Page Errors:
- Log into Google Webmaster tools
- Click on your website on the Home Dashboard and will take you to the Site Dashboard
- Here you can identify crawl errors, sitemap warnings and malware issues. You can simply click on that section and will be directed on what specifically is occurring.
Locate Specific Crawl Errors:
Crawl errors are errors that stopped Googlebot from crawling specific URLs which in the long run hurt your page ranking. You need to identify which pages have errors and redirect the URLs to relevant pages.
- Click on “Crawl” on the side menu
- The most critical URL’s that were most difficult to crawl are listed first
4. The Response Code will identify what solution is needed. The most typical status codes are:
- 404 – the requested page doesn’t exist
- 503 – the server is temporarily unavailable
5. If you have a webmaster or understand how to manage your website, you will need to locate the URL and have a 301 (moved permanently) redirect assigned so when someone clicks on the error page it forwards them to a relevant active page.
Checking Site Speed:
Site speed and page load time is a factor in your SEO rankings, if you have a slow site you maybe losing online visibility on the search engines.
- Go to Pingdom
- Enter your website URL and test
- Based on the test – there will be a list of areas for improvement
- Solutions on how to improve site speed
Find Spammy Website Links:
Within Webmaster Tools, it’s important to track links that are pointing to your website, if there are a lot of spammy sites this could damage your online rankings because it will appear as a less credible website.
- Go to Webmaster Tools in the Site Dashboard
- Click on “Search Traffic”
- Click on “Links to Your Site”
- Under “Who links the most” you can see what links are pointing to your website
- If you find many spammy websites pointing to you, try to contact the owner of the site to remove the pointing link
2. Search Engine Algorithm Changes:
Google and other popular search engines often have algorithm releases which could affect your keyword rankings. Always be up-to-date when Google is going to make algorithm adjustments and keep a pulse on other digital marketing leaders who identify major ranking changes.
Check out these Digital Marketing Leaders:
3. Target SEO Keywords:
You may need to revisit your keyword selection, if it is high competition keyword you will need to increase your marketing efforts or exam another keyword to push. Using Google Keyword Planner re-evaluate your keywords and with Google support view their detailed information on how to select the most effective SEO keyword.
- Avoid vanity keywords (root keywords): try using a more specific and descriptive keyword
- Is the keyword relevant? Put on your customer thinking cap, what would your customer most likely search?
- Is your targeted SEO keyword on your website? Is your website content related to your keyword?
- Are you getting traffic with related keywords?
4. User Behavior:
Understand your target audience to better predict their online behavior. If you’re targeting a specific group but your content isn’t engaging, relevant or you don’t speak the same lingo then your audience will be less likely to visit your page. You can further analyze and track the user’s behavior using Google Analytics.
- Log into Google Analytics
- Click on “Audience” on the left side menu
- Click “Behavior” – Here you can analyze different visitors behaviors on your website.
- New vs Returning: The goal is to have a good balance of new and returning visitors to your site, I believe 1/3 of visitors should be returning, if not your content may not be relevant or enticing to return again.
- Frequency: The focus is to have a high frequency of returning to your website. Try posting a blog 3-5 times a month or update your website with new information regularly to encourage your visitors to come back.
- Engagement: The goal is to have visitors stay longer on your website. If they are bouncing off your website there may be a lack of call to actions, direction or quality content. The only exception to short engagement is if you have a page with little content that directs them to another page with valuable information.
- To track drop offs and the traffic flow of the visitor following the following steps:
4. Click on “Audience” on the left side menu
5. Click on “Visitor’s Flow”
6. When you notice drop offs on a page, check the quality of the content, missing call’s to action that guides the visitor to another page.
5. Inbound Marketing:
Develop a strategic plan which would incorporate content marketing, social media and inbound marketing. In my experience organic white hat methods have been key to lasting success. I believe that SEO methods that offer instant high rankings will damage your long term goals. Building trusted and high website ranking links, using relevant and helpful content and engaging with your target audience via social media are a few successful digital marketing tactics to increase your visibility.